My dining companion said he found my political views to be “slightly to the right of the Ku Klux Klan.”
It was a more adventurous holiday than I bargained for.
I had arrived at my friend Joanna’s home in France for a few days’ R&R, but I was not off to the most auspicious start: my dining companion Hugh Faulkner, the former Minister for Indian Affairs and Northern Development for Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, said he found my political views to be “slightly to the right of the Ku Klux Klan.” This because I don’t support Chávez, am underwhelmed by Samantha Power and disagree with Joseph Stiglitz.
Unimpressed by the long list of liberal causes I have supported throughout my life, Faulkner continued to heap scorn on me. I thought he might not find it funny were I to run downstairs and return clutching my pillowcase, so I politely had another sip of wine and turned to the person on my right.
Dinner the following evening at the chic new Lorgues hotspot was my chance to redeem myself. A fabulous meal, two bottles of wine and a complimentary cognac later, the previous night’s ignominies were quickly forgotten. Until stumbling onto the Lorgues fete presented me with entirely new opportunities for humiliation.
Challenging a fellow houseguest to a video race car driving duel and gleefully choosing the Ferrari F40 as my ride, we crashed out in under 51 seconds.
A few yards hence we came upon our very own Madonna of Lorgues: a skinny teenager twirling about onstage with hotpants, sequined top and an asteroid of blown out bleached blonde hair while belting out disco classics. To the dismay of the village’s old biddies, I grabbed my race buddy’s wife’s hand and led her onto the dancefloor: an empty puddle-pocked car park.
Choo choo, a-ha, beep beep.
The only ones who seemed to appreciate our groovy moves were the band: the guitarist gave us a thumbs up. Not quite, Keef, but hey.
After a joyful communal devouring of a barbe à papa (‘candy floss’ to the Brits, ‘cotton candy’ to the Americans), we found the scary rides and swiftly moved on to the most frightening one of all.
As the adolescent operator with dilated pupils strapped three of us in, he quietly whispered to me: “Ne fais pas pipi sur les sièges.”
“What did he say?”
“He told us not to pee on the seats.”
Within five seconds it occurred to me that pipi might be the least of my problems; what about the vomissure?
Too scared to scream anyway, I resolutely kept my mouth (and my eyes) tightly shut.
Here’s my pearl of wisdom for the day: Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses are not ideally suited to rapidly-spinning fairground rides. As I protected my modesty from Basic Instinctesque overexposure to the small crowd of very young boys with necks bent with curiosity, I felt like a character in a Truffaut coming-of-age film. By the end of the ride, the sièges were not only dry, but a safer bet than my dinner placement.